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“Pass on this cafe” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Center Cafe

Center Cafe
50 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington DC, DC 20002
202.682.9555
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Ranked #1,469 of 2,495 Restaurants in Washington DC
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients, Local cuisine, Doing business
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Union Station
Description: The only 50-star restaurant in D.C.! With its sweeping views of Capitol Hill, there could hardly be a more perfect setting for this celebration of regional American cuisine than historic Union Station.
Ontario, Canada
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Pass on this cafe”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

We stopped here as a convenient location within Union station (which as others have mentioned is beautiful and great for people watching). Our first stop in was just for drinks at happy hour prior to our trolley tour which you check in right beside the cafe. Two of our 6 drinks (the mimosa and the bellini) were poured into champagne glasses and had been spilled all down the sides of the glass which made drinking them messy on the table and our hands. The second visit we stopped here for dinner and we ordered the nachos as an appetizer, my sister order the lemon pepper chicken and my husband and I both ordered the chicken penne. I didn't think it would ever be possible to have food with too much cheese but the penne did have too much cheese in my opinion and was so heavy I could not finish it. My sister's dish was good, but I would not recommend the penne here or drinks in champagne flutes (regular mixed drinks or beers were ok though).

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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89 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Renton, WA
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“Average food but great for people watching”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

This cafe sits in the main area of Union Station and we found it most entertaining. As we were there in the spring, the school tours paraded by along with all the other travelers. If you like people watching this is a great spot. Since most customers might be on a schedule, we were a little surprised that the service wasn't quicker, however we dined on white tablecloths, water came to the table without asking and we had refills on the soda. Both of us had the Greek chicken wraps and enjoyed them. When we commented on the netting stretched across the ceiling our server took the time to remind us of the earthquake that had damaged several buildings including Union Station. The netting will be removed when repairs are completed.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Top Contributor
128 reviews 128 reviews
84 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Great place to people watch”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013 via mobile

If you're visiting Union Station grab a beverage at the Center Cafe. You will be likely be entertained by the surrounding conversations! The prices for the beverages are average; we didn't eat because of some of the more recent reviews, but listening to the people made it worth the stop. We will definitely stop again when passing through DC.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
193 reviews 193 reviews
119 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 77 cities Reviews in 77 cities
213 helpful votes 213 helpful votes
“Enjoy it for what it is”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

I'm a lifelong sucker for trains and historic railway stations, so those considerations probably colour my review.

Wife and I knew in advance that we'd have to eat here at least once while on our recent visit to Washington: the setting, right in the centre of one of the world's most beautiful stations, surrounded by all that metropolitan hustle and bustle, was irresistible. Our first experience was decent enough that we ended up having two more dinners at the Center Cafe--one in the company of another couple--and one breakfast, as well. Everone was satisfied. This is not a place that we would probably return to regularly if we were residents but as tourists, we were very happy.

Menu offers a wide selection and prices were decent, particularly upstairs in the bar area, where there were happy hour deals during the week. Too frenzied up there for us, though, linen tablecloths downstairs, a bit more relaxed, same great view. Our dinners were better than our breakfast, though the breakfast was decent and at at $10.95 all in--juice, loaded breakfast croissant, and coffee/tea--in such a setting, what's to complain?

Service was just a tad TOO efficient (I think that I recognize that waitress who slams down the cutlery and avoids eye contact!) but the servers are very busy and many of the customers are in a hurry. We took our own sweet time and nobody tried to rush us out.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Paris, France
Top Contributor
839 reviews 839 reviews
355 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 88 cities Reviews in 88 cities
474 helpful votes 474 helpful votes
“One of the worst places I have been”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

Situated inside the train station in Washington DC, this has a nice location and layout, but the service and food here are terrible. I will not go back and left most of my meal there in the first place.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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